On October 18 the IFES Ukraine jointly with NDI and USAID’s RADA Program with the support of the USAID and the UK aid, organized the forum "Our Money in Elections".
Approximately 100 participants MPs, representatives of Central Election Commission, international experts, civil society organizations and media participated.
Ann Hopper, a Deputy Director of the USAID Democracy and Governance Office, said that Ukraine has been successful in law-making by adopting the Law on Preventing and Combating Political Corruption, which is one of the most progressive for political financing in Europe.
The participants of the event discussed key challenges in the field of financing elections in Ukraine, as well as further steps to be taken by various stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of the reform of political finance before upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
In his opening remarks, IFES Ukraine Deputy Country Director Gio Kobakhidze stressed that, “in Ukraine, civil society in particular, will have the herculean task of not only encouraging greater accountability and transparency of the electoral contestants, but also encouraging the independence and integrity of their political finance regulators who will be applying Ukraine’s fairly new political finance framework for the first time in a national election this March”.
During the Forum, participants discussed the most pressing issues in the realm of political and campaign finance including key challenges for the legal regulation of money in elections, instruments and opportunities for non-state actors to monitor financing of parties and candidates in elections, the new model of campaign finance state oversight and novelties that candidates and parties face when it comes to campaign spending and fundraising.
The participants of the Forum have reached a large degree of consensus on the following important steps that need to be undertaken to strengthen transparency and regulation of money in Ukrainian politics:
- Harmonization of the provisions of the Local Elections Law governing campaign finance with the campaign finance rules laid down in the laws governing national elections;
- Delineation of powers of the campaign oversight institutions, including the CEC and the NAPC to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure effective campaign finance oversight;
- Establishment of proportionate, effective and dissuasive sanctions for political finance violations;
- Development of measures to decrease campaign spending by parties and candidates in the presidential and local elections;
- Revision of legal provisions for political finance reporting that would provide for the establishment of e-reporting system for parties and candidates to allow for a comprehensive, unbiased and timely review of the party financial reports;
- Provision of sufficient time and organizational and human resources to the electoral administration and the NAPC;
- Regulation of “third party” funding for election campaigns.